There’s a lot more to the extruder than making strap handles. With a multitude of commercial dies or custom homemade extruder dies, the only limit is the imagination. In today’s post, an excerpt from his video The Extruder Video: Making the Most Out of Your Clay Extruder, Daryl Baird shows how he dresses up an ordinary extruded tray with trim made from a custom credit card die.- Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
This clip was excerpted from The Extruder Video: Making the Most Out of Your Clay Extruder, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop!
To learn more about Daryl Baird or to see more images of his work, please visit http://about.me/darylbaird.
Five Extruder Tips from Daryl!
1. Assemble it correctly. Make sure your extruder is assembled correctly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you bought a used or custom-made extruder, ask the person who sold it to you to cover the operation basics, if possible.
2. Use moist clay that has been wedged well. This can’t be overstated. Just about any clay can be pushed through an extruder, but the results will vary enormously, depending on the characteristics of each. Clearly some clay bodies are better suited to extruder work than others. As a general rule, any clay in a condition that is well suited for use on a potter’s wheel will work well in your extruder. This is not to say that you can’t use fresh clay right out of the bag. But if it has been around awhile and it seems a little stiff, it will be more difficult to use in your extruder. You shouldn’t have to exert superhuman force to get the clay to move through the die.
3. Practice, practice, and more practice. Just about every tool or instrument requires some practice if you’re going to master it. If you’re new to extruding, give yourself and the extruder a chance.
4. Working alone? Use the chest press method. Underfill the barrel so the handle is lower and closer to the barrel when you start. Now, standing directly in front of the extruder, square up your stance and press the handle with the center of your chest. This frees both of your hands to guide the clay as it extrudes.
5. Cut off the first few inches. The first part of an extrusion never seems to come out straight. Cut it off squarely, then finish your extrusion. If you’re making a hollow extrusion, you can help it to come out straighter by pressing your flattened hand with slight upward pressure against the bottom of the extrusion as you pull on the handle with your other hand.